In a novel move, BASF has manufactured products composed of chemically reused plastic waste, and has become a worldwide pioneer across the industry.
Dr. Martin Brudermüller, CTO and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE, said that companies, consumers and institutions must use plastics responsibly, if the world wants to set itself free from existing waste problem. He added that with chemical recycling, the company wants to reduce the amount of plastic waste significantly.
Brudermüller said that the company’s ChemCycling project uses waste derived from plastic as a resource, in order to create value for the society, economy and the environment. He added that the company has also collaborated with partners across the value chain to create an efficient working circular model.
The German chemical company and the biggest chemical producer in the world, BASF is closely associating with its partners and customers, ranging from waste management firms to packaging producers and technology providers, to form a powerful circular value chain.
At the first stage of the production chain, BASF feeds oil obtained from plastic waste through an oiling process into the Production Verbund. The company received this feedstock for the pilot products from one of its partners Recenso GmbH, Germany. Syngas, which is also composed of plastic waste, can also be used as a substitute in the process.
In October, BASF fed the first batch of this oil into the steam cracker at its Ludwigshafen site. The steam cracker begins the Verbund production, breaking down the raw material at about 850°C temperature.
Ethylene and propylene are the main outputs of this process, and these general chemicals are used in the Verbund to produce different chemical products. The company spokesperson said that following the mass balance approach, the recycled raw material share can mathematically be assigned to the final certified product. In fact, customers can choose the allotted amount of recycled material.
The chemical producer is already producing preliminary products like components of a refrigerator, insulation panels, and mozzarella packaging with 10 customers from different industries. BASF-supplied ChemCycling products exhibit the exactly same properties as products composed of fossil resources, thus they meet high quality and hygiene standards, which are seeing high demand especially in food packaging industry.